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Katelyn Klug Headshot

30 Lessons You Learned After 20

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I truly enjoy reading those blogs written by young mothers who have managed to overcome the pressures from society to be perfect, and rely solely on their maternal instincts to raise their joyful bundles with every bit of love and support they could ever possibly need. I find myself pinning, bookmarking, and emailing these blogs to my personal accounts so when the day comes that I can finally relate to them, they're a few simple clicks away. These women are stellar and someday I will feel empowered by their wisdom.

Today... is not that day.

Tomorrow's not looking good either.

Where do I find the blogs written by young single women like me who are struggling to overcome the pressures from society to figure out a damn plan? Choosing not to settle just to settle down takes courage, too. I guess this story is just less blog-worthy because, unlike maternal instincts, the instinct to panic about our future is not something anybody is excited share with the general public.

Over the last few months, in the midst of panicking about not having a damn plan, I started to build a list of some lessons that came with my first decade of adulthood. My experiences began to feel more valuable as I considered what each of them taught me. As it grew, this list became a cozy reminder that even though my twenties seemed fleeting, they were actually full of personal growth. It helped my recent transition to 30 feel less like I had been mugged at gun point and robbed of my youth against my will, and more like a graceful step in the right direction wearing trendy, comfortable, ergonomically agreeable flats.

So, in case society is wondering, I do have a damn plan: to be too busy defining 30 to let 30 define me.

Now, in no particular order, here's my damn list:

30 Lessons You Learned After 20
Written by Kate, for Kate

1. Never willingly become somebody else's secret. Your self-confidence deserves so much better from you.

2. Real best friends forever will love you through your growing pains and appreciate the way they change you. Remember, they're changing too.

3. Drinking too much coffee is never going to be your biggest problem.

4. A person who often misinterprets good intentions probably doesn't have many good intentions of their own.

5. Take compliments gracefully. Give them freely in return.

6. Desire for perfection is a flaw in itself.

7. You're usually not a fan of someone who's not a fan of jazz. You realize this might make you seem pretentious, but know you burp in public too often for that to be true.

8. It is entirely possible that your life's calling is just wondering what your life's calling is for the rest of your life. It's ok though, because you're sure to find meaning as you search.

9. Absence makes the heart grow independent.

10. Unresolved guilt can be more painful than a broken heart.

11. When you're at a crossroads, sometimes it helps to ask yourself, "What would Oprah do?" Assume Oprah will always say yes to French fries, pizza, and ice cream. Oh, and red wine.

12. If you feel the need to lie about something to the people you love, you probably shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

13. Superstition is a waste of worry.

14. Your parents can't fix all of your problems anymore, but they are still a precious resource for advice. Not everyone is blessed with such an invaluable gift.

15. Nobody is stealing your hangers. You just shop too much.

16. There is never a good reason to talk about politics at work. Unless you work in politics, of course, but you're pretty sure that's not happening in this lifetime.

17. Optimism is powerful.

18. Maturity doesn't come with marriage.

19. Facebook will bring out narcissistic tendencies you never knew you had. Check yo'self! ...and stop checkin' yo' Facebook so much.

20. Women who claim to get along better with men are trouble.

21. Always keep ingredients on hand for basic chocolate chip cookie dough in case of emergencies. Your friends are depending on you. Do not let them down.

22. Being kind to strangers is good for your soul.

23. You are not one of those women who gains weight in her boobs. Stop trying to disprove this.

24. When you learn to accept change, your happy memories will go back to being happy memories instead of sad reminders of happier times.

25. The most valuable religious belief to uphold -- regardless of affiliation -- is that God wants us to love one another without judgment. Embrace diversity.

26. When you put forth effort that you can be proud of, your job satisfaction will increase.

27. There is no kind of hormonal birth control that doesn't make you emotional. Eventually you'll refer to the four years it took you to learn this lesson as the "med-evil times."

28. Your big sister will continue to be your idol after childhood and throughout your life.

29. Your personality is muffled in the presence of people you perceive to be more powerful than you. You hope to get over this by the time you're 40 because it's really starting to cramp your style.

30. A few seconds of sporadic dancing is a temporary fix for every kind of sadness. It doesn't matter if you're in the club, the kitchen, or the car. Just get down with your sad self.